A higher percentage of hopefuls for the chartered financial analyst designation passed the first level of their three-part exam in December.
Forty-three percent of applicants passed the first test, the CFA Institute said in a statement on its website today, up from 38% when the test was last given in June 2013 and 37% in December 2012.
Global investment banks have cut head count and are reducing the portion of revenue set aside for compensation as trading slumps and regulators demand banks hold more capital. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President Gary Cohn said in May that competition to get jobs on Wall Street is still high and that the firm hired 350 summer analysts from a pool of more than 17,000 applicants.
“The financial community is dealing with a crisis of investor trust, and industry education at all levels is a critical part of rebuilding that trust,” John Rogers, president of the CFA Institute, said in the statement announcing the results.
About 45,700 financial professionals sat for the latest test, a 6.7% decrease from a year earlier. Certification can lead to better jobs, higher salaries and a deeper understanding of finance. Candidates may take the Level 1 exam in both June and December, unlike the two latter levels, which are available once a year.
Successful charter recipients spend an average of 300 hours preparing for each exam and typically take four years to complete all three tests, according to the not-for-profit institute.